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Deere piques interest of women as aspiring engineers

Friday, February 25, 2011

Deere is operating a program for teenage, middle-school girls that aims to boost the number of women in engineering.
Deere is operating a program for teenage, middle-school girls that aims to boost the number of women in engineering.

 

An Eastern Iowa museum is working with John Deere to introduce teenage girls to the array of professional opportunity in engineering, according to a published report.

WQAD reports the Putnam Museum in Davenport is hosting 50 eighth graders who are working alongside Deere engineers as a way of sparking interest, prompting wonderment and, perhaps, performing some long-range recruiting.

"Only 8 percent of girls are really interested in pursuing engineering careers," Anne Ryerson, a Deere product safety engineer, told the publication. "We want to expand that."

With plans to nearly double profits by 2018, as the Deere chief executive mentioned earlier this week, significant professional opportunity is expected to open in the next few years. And, females are underrepresented in the industry, with less than 20 percent of engineering jobs in the U.S. held by women.

"We've been tasked by industry to get females involved," said Kim Glenn of Iowa State University. "Industry wants that, so they can have an equal balance of ideas."

The program already is having a profound impression on one student.

"I didn't really know much about being an engineer," Alexis King, 14, told the publication. "I wanted to come see how it was and explore my options."

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